After we said our farewells to the ship, and found our rental car exactly how we left it near the homeless tent city, we decided to hit the lovely north shore area of Oahu.
To get to the coast we had to travel up and through some mountains. Not sure why I was surprised to see a tunnel but I was.
But once we hit the east coast and headed north, it was blue skies and gorgeous ocean Hawaiian scenery.
Will and I both saw that little island and declared we wanted to be there. Our own little piece of paradise.
Instead, we landed at a brand new Marriott in the town of Laie where we spent the next 24 hours hanging by the pool and tooling around.However, I do have to note that not every pool umbrella offers UV protection. For example, the ones pictured above?
ZERO UV protection.
I learned that the hard way after spending a couple of hours out of direct sunlight under said pool umbrella and still got crispy enough that people winced in empathetic sunburn pain when they saw me.
We spent the afternoon and evening at the Polynesian Cultural Center, which shared a parking lot with our hotel. And we still drove there.
Why? Because: Hawaii = rain.
The PCC was launched around 50 years ago to provide jobs for the LDS kids who were attending the Brigham Young Hawaii campus.
Those Mormons must have one heck of a dental plan because those super clean-cut kids had the straightest, whitest teeth of any single group of people I have ever encountered!
We enjoyed the "canoe pageant" of the different islands and they had a really well done indoor film about the history and culture of the islands.
Thankfully, we were able to muster up enough energy to have some shave ice to offset the heat and humidity.
We had the buffet dinner but it wasn't a luau so we never did get to do one of those!
We really enjoyed the evening show, Ha Breath of Life, which was very well done. Nothing like a whole lot of energy and excitement and burning torch twirling to end a great visit to the famous north shore.The next day we took one last drive for one last swim in the Pacific. This beach was known for its sea turtles, but alas, we didn't see any.
After we got cleaned up, we headed back down the shoreline, through the mountains, into the big city and got to the airport around 7:00 PM.
Did you know the Honolulu airport is not air conditioned? Neither did we.
Thankfully we found a restaurant that was and had a nice long dinner in the cool air as we waited for our 11:50 PM departure to Phoenix.
The kids were still going strong as we gave our final shakas and headed into the last part of our adventure.
By 7:00 AM the next morning they were hanging out, charging devices in the airport like seasoned air travel pros.
After a long leg to Charlotte and then a short hop to Raleigh, we were finally back home from our amazing vacation.
And 20 minutes after we got home, this is what I was doing. Because, I get to be the Mom :)
Wow! What an amazing adventure. I mean, really amazing!
An adventure that encompassed:
- A combined 17 hours and ~7,500 miles of air travel
- 10 days and ~3,200 nautical miles by ship
- Four time zones
- Four Pacific islands
- Two countries
- One shipboard fireworks show
- Zero illnesses, airline delays, lost luggage, or major meltdowns of any kind.
We are grateful beyond words for the opportunity to have such a grand adventure together. We have made memories that will last a lifetime!
Aloha and Mahalo to DCL and the State of Hawaii!